In this article we will try to tell you what drinks were drunk in the Middle Ages in Europe.
It should be noted right away that the difference between peasants and masters was of great importance in the Middle Ages. For example, the food of the lower and higher social strata was very different. However, with regard to drinks, the social difference was reflected only in the quality of the consumed food. The assortment of peasants and aristocrats was practically the same.
Medieval man could not do without alcohol. In this era, water was fraught with mortal danger, terrible diseases lurked in it. At the same time, the fermentation processes killed or prevented the multiplication of many pathogenic bacteria. In addition, drinks with a degree were stored much longer than non-alcoholic ones.
And in the Middle Ages, they usually drank wine
In medieval Europe, everyone drank wine, which is the best drink of the time. Grapes were grown wherever possible. Wine was a truly mainstream drink. For the rich, there were expensive varieties – wines of the first pressing, for the poor – wines of the second and third pressing, which were seriously inferior in taste to the first ones. But the wines of the second and third pressing were not at all as strong as drinks for the rich. Therefore, the poor could drink them and practically not get drunk. The cheapest were white and rosé wines.
They drank fruit and berry juices in the Middle Ages. But people did not yet possess the skills of sterilizing juices, so he began to ferment rather quickly with them. And various berry wines were obtained.
What kind of beer they drank in the Middle Ages
One of the popular drinks in Europe was beer. Beer was drunk in huge quantities in Western Europe, in Flanders, Artois, Champagne, England, where it was called ale. They produced beer from barley, rye, wheat. Most of all from barley, as it is not very good for baking, but great for brewing. They made a drink from sprouted grain – malt. Hops were sometimes used for aromatization. However, until the 15th century, beer was not flavored with hops, and it was more reminiscent of the barley beer produced in antiquity, rather than the drink that is drunk today. Nevertheless, there were different types of beer: weak, strong, sweetened with honey, spicy and even mint.
Meanwhile, beer was used only in some areas, where it was not produced, it was little appreciated. For example, in Anjou, Sentonge, Burgundy and Paris drinking beer was not considered a very prestigious business. In addition, the beer was poorly preserved and could not withstand long-distance transportation. Therefore, they tried to drink it immediately after preparation. Beer was brewed mainly in monasteries. At the same time, beer was perceived more often as a woman’s drink. Men drank beer only when there was not enough wine.
Another medieval drink is cider. Of course, it was considered an unworthy drink in the home of a man of great wealth. Cider is a drink for the poor. He was not appreciated at all, while he was drunk and drank a lot. Cider with pears was more appreciated – it was sweeter and less sour. In most villages, cider was diluted with water and called a baby drink.
What soft drinks were drunk in the Middle Ages in Europe
In addition, until the age of 7-8, children drank milk. Adults of all walks of life perceived the use of milk as a sign of extreme weakening of the body or recklessness. Fresh milk was practically not consumed at all, simply because it quickly deteriorated. Therefore, it could also be a carrier of infections. And people have not yet practiced boiling milk. So, for the most part, fermented milk products and whey were used.
Of course, before going to bed, they drank herbal teas. Usually it was an infusion of herbs – verbena, mint, rosemary with the addition of spices or honey. In general, honey was actively used in the preparation of drinks. It was usually served at the end of a meal. Honey was drunk pure or mixed with wine.
As for water, it was a drink for the poor. The rich ignored the water. As a last resort, they diluted the wine with it. The fact is that water in the Middle Ages had a bad reputation. It was believed that she could cause epidemics. Therefore, those who had the opportunity tried to drink safer alcoholic beverages.
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